Jaguar Forums Original: The History of Range Rover and Led Zeppelin
Two Range Rovers in particular pop up in Led Zeppelin mythology and history. One still survives and the other may not have existed at all.
Kashmir is one of those pieces of music that manages to take a driving rhythm and turn it into something that soars. Perfect for a long stretch of road with no traffic around so the right foot can do the right speed. The song takes inspiration from a trip Robert Plant and Jimmy Page embarked on in 1973 trying to drive from Goulimine to Tan-Tan in the Sahara Desert.
In an interview for Mojo magazine Plant tells the story: “I had been going towards Tan-Tan from Guelmim. I kept bumping down this desert track without anyone around for miles except for the odd guy and his camel. The whole inspiration for the song came from the fact that the road was a single track cutting across the desert. It was like driving through a channel. I thought, this is great but one day, I’ll see Kashmir.”
Much has been written about how the song came to be over the three year period it was written, and the accounts vary. Plant has never actually named the vehicle though. Most often, a Range Rover or a Land Rover are cited as the vehicle Plant hired for the trip.
The likelihood of a Range Rover is debatable as the very first one rolled off the line only three years earlier, and finding one in the Moroccan desert doesn’t sound very likely. However, Plant did own a Range Rover so it’s likely he would have chosen one if he could. Also, given that he’s Robert Plant and the British are known for being in that part of the world, some strings may have been pulled locally to get the suitable off-roader to him. Without that speculation, it’s more likely Page and Plant were driving around in a Series model Land Rover.
Sadly, we’ll never know exactly. However, much less nebulous is Peter Grant‘s Range Rover with the number plate LZ1. Led Zeppelin’s manager is famous in his own right, but in the same way Brian Epstein is “the 5th Beatle,” Grant had his own singular relationship with Led Zeppelin. The stories are legion and occasionally involved taking a cricket bat to the negotiation table.
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For a self-made hard-man of the music industry, a Range Rover was the perfect vehicle for him. Grant didn’t just have any old Range Rover though. Grant’s was a 1980 model modified by Schuler and still exists today. In fact, after bouncing around the UK classifieds for years, it’s now owned by a musician and car enthusiast who has had it restored.
If the name Schuler is unfamiliar, it’s because we now know them as Overfinch. Back in the day and from the factory, Range Rovers were only equipped with four-speed manuals but Schuler replaced them with Chrysler Torqueflite 727 automatic transmissions. They also added anti-lock brakes, heavy-duty springs and dampers, and anti-lock brakes. This was way before ABS became an industry standard. In 1980, Land Rover gave Schuler 25 Range Rovers to convert and then sold them to the public through dealers. The automatic transmission soon became a factory option, and even found its way onto the 1981 Paris Dakar Rally winning Range Rover.
Not only did Range Rover possibly play a part in the success of a Led Zeppelin classic, but Peter Grant played his part with Range Rover by dropping his hard earned cash on a Range Rover Classic with an automatic transmission.